Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang highlighted the formation of a new security and development space linking the Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific with closer economic, political and cultural connectivity during a dialogue with nearly 300 Indian politicians, professors, researchers, scholars and students in New Delhi on March 4 morning.
In his speech, President Quang said a number of inter-regional and global initiatives and long-term cooperation strategies have been raised in the Indian Ocean and the Asia-Pacific over the past years, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), India’s “Look East” policy, China’s “Belt and Road” connectivity initiative, Japan’s “Free and Open Indo– Pacific Strategy”, the US’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision”, and recently the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with the participation of 11 member economies.
He said the 21st century becomes the century of the Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific only when countries share the same vision for an open area in line with international law with no country and population group being left behind, and strive to maintain overflight, aviation and trade freedom for common prosperity.
Speaking highly of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech during the ASEAN-India Summit, President Quang said only via increasingly closer links across infrastructure, trade, investment, culture, education – training, and science – technology, India and ASEAN could build up power to create a new development space for the sake of peace, stability, cooperation and development.
In Vietnam’s foreign policy, India is always one of the most important prioritised partners, he said, adding that PM Modi also described Vietnam as the top priority in India’s efforts to boost ties with the Asia-Pacific region.
India deserves a greater role in the Indian Ocean-Asia Pacific regions as well as in the world, he noted.
The Vietnamese leader said Vietnam supports India in actively joining regional connectivity and cooperation mechanisms.
He stressed the need to further reinforce Vietnam-India economic-trade connectivity, considering it a development momentum for the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership. Vietnam and India need to promote maritime cooperation and collaboration in achieving their sustainable development goals, and closely connect the United Nations Agenda on Sustainable Development 2030 with the regional cooperation frameworks, including the Mekong – Ganga Cooperation.
The President suggested jointly building an open and inclusive regional architecture and effectively realising contents of the ASEAN – India strategic partnership with a new vision.
Vietnam and India need to coordinate more closely at multilateral forums, particularly in the mechanisms of the United Nations and ASEAN, while actively participating in developing and shaping frameworks and cooperation methods, contributing to efforts of the international community to ensure peace, cooperation, development, and a bright future for the Indian Ocean, Asia, and the Asia-Pacific region, President Quang suggested.
He expressed his belief that with the time-testing friendship, shared vision, and efforts made by leaders and people of the two nations, Vietnam and India have a solid foundation for the growing strategic comprehensive partnership and becoming the focus in regional connectivity.
The Indian Ocean-Asia Pacific regions have established its century-old connectivity in terms of geography, history, economy, and culture, he said, adding that the recent initiatives on regional connectivity, once being implemented as commitments, will contribute to creating a future of peace, cooperation and prosperity in the regions.
He spoke highly of India’s “Look East” and “Act East” policies, saying that they will contribute to the development of the Indian Ocean-Asia Pacific space, promoting the building of a sustainable regional architecture.
The realization of the Indian Ocean-Asia Pacific Vision will lay a foundation for the country’s “Act East” policy to achieve its targets and benefits, President Quang stressed.
The Vietnamese leader highlighted the central role of the ASEAN nations in the Indian Ocean- Asia Pacific regions, saying that all key shipping routes connecting the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean run through Southeast Asia.
ASEAN is the only regional organisation with close cooperation frameworks and mechanisms with all nations in and outside the region, therefore, all regional connectivity initiatives are important to ASEAN, President Quang affirmed.
On the occasion, President Quang attended a ceremony launching the book on Vietnam-India relations, titled “Emerging Horizons in India – Vietnam Relations”.
He also attended a ceremony at the Nehru Museum to announce the establishment of the Vietnamese Studies Centre under the Indian Academy of Social Science (ISSA).